Golden Lion Tamarin/Golden Marmoset (Leontopithecus rosalia)

Golden lion tamarin
Golden lion tamarin

The golden lion tamarin, or golden marmoset (Leontopithecus rosalia), is a small New World monkey in the family Callitrichidae. It is also known as the golden lion tamarin. The golden lion tamarin monkey lives in the forests along the Atlantic coast of Brazil. It is an endangered species. The wild population lives in four places along the southeastern coast of Brazil. A recent census found that there are about 3,200 individuals left in the wild, and 150 zoos keep about 490 individuals as pets.

Where Do Golden Lion Tamarins Live?

Golden lion tamarins occur only in the southeastern part of Brazil. This species can only be found in three small areas in this region: the Poco das Antas Biological Reserve, the Fazenda Unio Biological Reserve, and private land where the Reintroduction Program has been used to bring the species back.

Golden lion tamarins live in the forest sub-canopy, which is usually 5 to 20 feet above the ground, in this area. Overall, these monkeys like to live in a humid, secluded canopy that is dominated by vines and has arboreal pathways to keep them safe from predators that fly. Land that has been farmed and secondary regrowth forests are also good places to live.

Golden Lion Tamarin Distribution

The Golden Lion Tamarin has a very small range because it has lost all but 2% to 5% of its original habitat in Brazil over time. Today, this tamarin only lives in three small areas of the tropical rain forest in southeastern Brazil: Poco das Antas Biological Reserve, Fazenda Unio Biological Reserve, and private land through the Reintroduction Program.

In 1972, the first estimate of the number of individuals in the area put the number between 400 and 500. By 1981, there were less than 200 individuals left. As recently as 1995, surveys showed that no more than 400 golden lion tamarins might have been left in the wild. Since then, the population has grown to about 3,200.

Tamarins live in the municipalities of Silva Jardim, Cabo Frio, Saquarema, and Araruama, which are near the very southeast border of the country. They have, however, been successfully brought back to Rio das Ostras, Rio Bonito, and Casimiro de Abreu. Tamarins live in forests less than 300 meters (984 feet) above sea level and close to the coast. They live in forests on hills and in swamps.

Golden Lion Tamarin Behavior

Golden lion tamarin
Golden lion tamarins

These primates live in small groups of two to eight. These groups can be nuclear or extended families, and they usually include a breeding pair, their young from one or two litters, and other related animals.

The members of a group act very territorially, marking their territory with scents and making special calls to warn off strangers. When someone is angry, they might stare, have their mouth open, or arch their back. Golden lion tamarins spend more time grooming themselves than any other primate in the world. Adults are the ones who do most of the grooming on females.

Golden lion tamarins are friendly, social, and like to play. People often see them huddling together and having fun. Some other important things to do are wrestling and chasing. These primates are diurnal, which means they sleep from dusk until dawn and sometimes take naps in the middle of the day.


Diet: What Do Golden Lion Tamarins Eat

These animals are called omnivores because they eat both insects and fruit. So, they eat both plant and animal foods, like spiders, snails, small lizards, eggs, and small birds, as well as different fruits and vegetables.


The gold lion tamarin only mates with one partner at a time, so each group only has one breeding pair. They can breed two times a year, in September and March. The gestation period lasts 130 to 135 days and gives birth to two babies with full fur and open eyes. During their first few weeks of life, the babies never leave their mother’s side.

At five weeks, they can move around on their own and start to look around. Most of the time, the father takes care of the babies, but everyone in the group helps raise the young. About 90 days pass during this time. Males are sexually mature when they are about two years old, while females are ready to mate when they are about 1.5 years old.

Golden Lion Tamarin Population

Before, these animals were in danger because their forest homes were being cut up and lost. People were caught trading or keeping pets. At the moment, the biggest problem for the Golden lion tamarin monkey population as a whole is that their natural range is very small and broken up, and there aren’t that many of them, so they can’t breed well. These animals still show up occasionally in local markets, but the small-scale pet trade is no longer a big problem.

According to the IUCN Red List, there are more than 1,000 Golden lion tamarins worldwide. The research says that there are about 500 of them in captivity. Most of the ones that are kept in captivity are at the Poco Das Antas Biological Reserve. This part of Rio de Janeiro is a swampy forest. At the moment, this species is considered Endangered (EN), but the number of them has stayed the same.

Facts About Golden Lion Tamarin

  • The thumbs on the front feet of golden lion tamarins can’t be turned all the way around. Also, like bird feet, the halluces of these monkeys have flat nails and are set back from the other fingers.
  • The mother’s milk of tamarins is the only one that has more protein and ash than the milk of any other primate.
  • These primates use a ” micromanipulation ” technique to get to the insects they eat. They use their long, thin fingers to get into small cracks in the tree bark.
  • The Golden lion tamarins will only share food with their own kind. So, it is common for young ones to steal food from their parents or siblings for fun.
  • At the moment, the Golden Lion Tamerin is one of Brazil’s national symbols. Also, this animal is on the new 20 Reais bill printed by the Central Bank.
  • The territory of a single group of these primates is usually about 100 acres. Members of a community will fight aggressively to protect their home range from strangers. They will use scent marking and “songs” to let others know where their group is.

FAQs: Golden Lion Tamarin

Golden lion tamarin
Golden lion tamarin

How Many Golden Lion Tamarins Are Left In The World 2022?

There are approximately 2,500 golden lion tamarins in the wild, with the vast majority residing in or near the Reserva Biologica de Poço das Antas in Rio de Janeiro state.

Can You Have A Golden Lion Tamarin As A Pet?

When interacting with our primates, please always wear masks to prevent the spread of potentially fatal human diseases. The care of tamarins requires that they have access to social groups with other tamarins. Although the golden lion tamarins develop close bonds with their caretakers, they are not suitable as pets.

What Kills Golden Lion Tamarins?

Illegal logging, poaching, mining, urbanization, deforestation, pet trading, infrastructural development, and the introduction of alien species pose a danger to the golden lion tamarin population.

Who Eats Golden Lion Tamarins?

The most common threats are birds of prey, snakes, and small carnivores like coatis and margay. Humans engage in illicit tamarin hunting and pet collection.

How Far Can Golden Lion Tamarins Jump?

They have huge front teeth that can crack a Brazil nut and jump as high as six feet in the air thanks to their muscular hind legs.

How Does a Golden Lion Tamarin Protect Itself?

So, How does the golden lion tamarin defend itself? They stay up in the treetops, usually between 29 and 100 feet (10 and 30 meters) in the air. These tamarins are extremely territorial and use scent markers and alarm calls to keep intruders out of their territory. Open lips, an arched back, and intense staring are all indicators of aggression.

What Fruits Do Golden Lion Tamarins Eat?

the animals love to eat apples, oranges, bananas, raisins, etc.

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